A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Nina Parmenter

with Nina Parmenter:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Nina: I wrote light poetry as a teenager, influenced of course by Roald Dahl and Spike Milligan. But other than that, until my forties I really had little interest in poetry, particularly anything, god forbid, “serious”!

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Nina: At the moment, I’m suckering up poetry like a hungry octopus and being influenced by everything I read. I’m all new and eager. Most influential things I’ve read in the last twelve months are probably “The Air Year” by Caroline Bird and “Crucifox” by Geraldine Clarkson both for their joyful eccentricity; “Paper Aeroplanes” by Simon Armitage because of what that man can do with wordplay and rhyme and half-rhyme, “And After All” by Rhina P Espaillat because of her effortlessness with form, and “Menagerie” by Cheryl Pearson because of her wonderful playful imagery. But there are so many more I’ve enjoyed.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Nina: I’ve noticed that when I set poems in a place, that place is almost always in Somerset (in South West England) where I grew up, or Wiltshire where I live now (next to Somerset!) I’m reasonably well travelled, but nowhere except home seems to make it into my poems. I imagine that tells you something about me.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Nina: I almost always think that the last good poem I wrote is my best. Also, that it will be my last good poem! In terms of “meaningful”, I will often put my more troubled or challenging thoughts slantways into a surreal poem rather than addressing them directly. From a selfish point of view, I find that better therapy than going into a lot of detail; for the reader, they’re there if you need or want to find them. But I think fun and surprise and intrigue are important too. They are the things that bring us to life.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Nina: I don’t remember a specific moment; I always knew I could write, I just didn’t think it was a thing people like me did. I hit my forties and there ere a couple of factors that pushed me towards writing – I wanted to give my inner narrative something to do except worrying, and I wanted to do something that was “me”. I cut my teeth by writing light poetry and posting it on a community site, Poetry Soup. People there were really encouraging which prompted me to explore some different forms, types and styles. Then I realised that to write decent poetry I should also, you know, READ  some poetry and that’s when I started to really diversify. (I do still love light poetry though.)

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Nina: I’d love to reel off an intriguing list of pastimes but the fact is, I’m a working mum, and writing is the main thing I squeeze round other stuff for pleasure! Then there’s a teeny bit of space left for reading, singing, walking and friends and family.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Nina: I’ve just moved my blog across to ninaparmenter.com and you can WordPress-follow it now or follow it via Facebook at Facebook.com/parmenterpoetry. The blog was previously at itallrhymes.com but this became problematic when I started  writing a lot of poems that didn’t… rhyme! I’ve also got a couple of appearances coming up in anthologies – in Hedgehog Poetry’s “Looking Out, Peering In” and Dreich’s “Summer Anywhere” anthology.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Nina: There’s a poem I wrote a few years ago called “Ease in the Ether” where I imagine myself rising above reality. It has this little phrase I love: “Far above the flick-flack of tongues / and the dull tug of duty / I cruise the dewy sky-trails / watching the pedestrians / lessen.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Nina: Oh my goodness, lots of people – the majority of them being people I’ve never met in real life! People on Twitter have been amazing – I put out a plea for a couple of people to look at some work a few weeks ago, and so many kind people responded and gave me such useful feedback. Next step is to join a real life workshop where I actually have to look people in the eye – because my poetry only really took off last year, there just hasn’t been the opportunity to do that yet. I need to re-socialise myself first though!

2 poems by Nina Parmenter : Down by the River & How to Count Your Fingers

5 Poems from Nina Parmenter ” The Twist”,”Bright Future”, “Strings” “Stargazing in a time of Plague” “Where Tears Are”



Bio: Nina Parmenter’s first collection will be published by Indigo Dreams in 2022. Her poetry has appeared in journals including Honest Ulsterman, Atrium Poetry, Snakeskin, Allegro Poetry, Green Ink, and Ink Sweat and Tears. In 2021, she was winner of the Hedgehog Poetry single poem contest and was nominated for the Forward Prize. She lives in Wiltshire but can be found online at www.ninaparmenter.com or on Twitter @ninaparmenter.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Sadie Maskery

with Sadie Maskery:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Sadie: I have always written, badly. My first favourite book was Watership Down. Its mix of children’s folktale, natural history, landscape writing and savagery definitely influenced my adult interests.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Sadie: I read only recently about Tolkien’s writing process. Having the patience and stamina to draft countless versions of a work, to have enough faith in the process and in the worth of what you are writing to labour, really labour, to create something, painstakingly working and reworking each strand, weaving the plot backwards not just to the end – that requires self belief and a faith in your writing. I am trying to find that confidence in what I write. If I draft it a long piece I read it, think it’s rubbish and delete it. I still say sorry as I submit things. Sorry, I know you have better things to do with your time than read this. Sorry. I need to orc up.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?

Sadie: My Dad brought me up as my mother went to South Africa with her new family. He was a … strong character. We moved home a lot; I don’t feel I am ‘from’ anywhere. Dad did his best but it was a struggle for both of us. It had an impact on me, but I was socially awkward by nature as well as nurture. Overcompensating for introversion affects my whole life, I constantly cringe at myself. Damn right it influences my writing.

Q4: What do you consider your most meaningful work that you've done creatively so far?
Sadie: A collection about my childhood, funnily enough. It is not good poetry (well, it's not found a publisher) but it has been useful to put things in perspective. 

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Sadie: No pivotal moment, I just love it. I used to sing in a jazz trio, the pure joy when what you are all creating fuses to something special, my god. The sting is needing validation from other people. I love creation, hate rejection, so choosing poetry with all the rejections that involves is fun. At least with singing it was someone else's words, mostly. 

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Sadie: Reading. As I have aged I have lost interest in profound works with unresolved endings. Real life is messy and full of despair, why the hell would I read about an imaginary version of the same. I have turned during Covid to 1930s murder mysteries with neatly packaged solutions and courteous villains wearing smart suits.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you'd like to promote?

Sadie: Oh all of it. Contact me. I need to get better at in between bits, I have a tendency to apologise too much for being on a stage. But I like the time when I am in a poem or song.  It's a chance to be someone else. It is transfiguring when you can feel your words connect with other people.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others, or a favorite piece of art or photograph? 

Sadie: A favourite photograph is this one of Louise Brooks. It was this or a photo of Bonnie Langford. I wanted to be a lithe, troubled siren; or bubbly, unashamedly redheaded and performing nightly with Brian Blessed in the West End. Either would have done. I got the troubled and redheaded bits. 

Favorite line from a song?

Is that all there is? If that’s all there is my friend, then let’s keep dancing, let’s break out the booze and have a ball. If that’s all there is. 

It’s the melody that goes with it. Peggy Lee or the PJ Harvey cover, either version stays with me on long, still nights.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Sadie: David, husband and love. I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for him. He literally saved me from drowning once and he does it metaphorically most days.

Thanks to these publishers/twitter tags


@feversof 🙂

A Poem by Sadie Maskery : “And what if this was all it is”

Poems about “Connections” by Sadie Maskery

Poems by Sadie Maskery : “Safe Spaces” “Faith” & “Haiku”

Avalanches in Poetry 2 Entry: To the End of Love by Sadie Maskery







Bio: Sadie (@saccharinequeen)
Sadie Maskery lives in Scotland by the sea with her family.  Her writing will be found in various publications both online and in print, and she can be found on Twitter as @saccharinequeen where she describes herself, optimistically, as “functioning adequately “.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Jesse Miksic

with Jesse Miksic:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Jesse: In high school, I stumbled across a poetry anthology in an otherwise useless creative writing class, and discovered e e cummings’ poem “Since feeling is first.” It resonated so strongly — especially with those closing lines — it’s still one of the poems I most identify with.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Jesse: Though I feel like my work is all over the place, my favorites right now are Bianca Stone, whose ongoing work has shown me how to stretch all the way through and beyond the traditional confines of lyric poetry, and Li-Young Lee, whose whole mode of thinking feels like home to me. I’m also influenced (and overwhelmed) every day by the poets whose work I follow on Twitter, who are living and struggling to create beautiful things in these unsettled times.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?

Jesse: I grew up in the northeastern United States, in the cities and suburbs (Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC). As a result, my poetry is concerned with some particular transitions: from urban energy to domestic suburban, and I think they are inflected with an outsider’s fascination with the wild. Of course, I was also brought up with video games and nerd culture and SFF film and TV, and I lived through the 90’s incarnations of punk and Internet culture, so all of those can be seen as boundaries and borders in my work, as well.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work/describe?

Jesse: I carry all the places I’ve been within me, and they all show up in poems from time to time. I’ve written about Thailand, various beaches, and my parents’ and grandparents’ places of origin in upstate New York. But these are probably less central to my writing than the tricky cosmopolitan virtual world I’ve adopted as a child of the Internet age.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a poet/writer?

Jesse: More of a line of personal evolution, starting with the genre literature I loved (JRR Tolkien, Stephen King) and then moving through my own experiments with writing. The poem as a format was a special place to be experimental, to supercollide my various literary and intellectual modes. Because of the freedom and the connection with parts of my mind I don’t normally access so readily, it’s become my favorite mode in recent years.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Jesse: At the moment, I mostly relax by scribbling in notebooks, listening to poetry and philosophy podcasts. However, I always know I can go back to some old favorites: watching movies of the cultish and popcorn varieties, rewatching my favorite anime, and playing video games with good stories.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Jesse: I don’t have much besides what’s posted on my normal social media feeds: @miksimum (Twitter) for general musing and poetry links/boosts, and @miksimum (Instagram) for photography and drawings. For a rundown of my published poetry (pretty much all available online), my website has it: http://www.miksimum.com/publications

Q8: What is one of your favorite lines from your writings/poetry?


“The stillness gathered
The voices like a chisel
And sculpted the light”

(from Town Park as Tuning Fork, https://www.miksimum.com/publications/Miksic-TownPark.html)

Or my favorite things from others? My favorite line of love poetry is still cummings’:
“for life’s not a paragraph / And death i think is no parenthesis”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Jesse: A big shout out to Laura Kaminski, who was instrumental in the first piece I ever had accepted (in Right Hand Pointing #116), whose advice has seen me through a great deal of my slow-simmering poetry career, and who has also been a champion of my work at Praxis Magazine Online, a publication I’m proud to have some work in. Also to Jay Besemer, who has encouraged and challenged me through some truly rewarding discussion and correspondence. And to everyone participating in #TopTweetTuesday every week.